Our Walk of Faith: The Vote Is on Thursday, November 17 at 6:30 p.m. Included Below Are the Presentation From Informational Meetings, Questions & Answers, Links & Videos.

nancyevansNews & Events

“After praying and seeking God’s will for the future of our church during this period of 40 Days of Prayer and Walk of Faith, the lay members to the North Texas Annual Conference believe that the best action for our church family as a whole is to continue the discussion on leaving the United Methodist Church. We are trusting God to show us the best future for our congregation.”

The deadline to attend the Thursday meeting by Zoom is noon on Thursday.

Dear church family,

We have been praying for 40 days and walking in faith to discern God’s will for the future of our church. The 40-day period of prayer will conclude with a congregational meeting on Thursday, November 17, at 6:30 pm in the main sanctuary where we will decide if we want a Church Conference with the District Superintendent and a formal vote to decide if we should remain in the United Methodist Church or not. This letter is intended to give you information about the November 17 meeting.

On that Thursday evening, we would like to have a time of prayer and then vote to decide if we want to have a formal Church Conference. Only full members of the church will be able to vote. The voting will be done in person and online, and the voting will be confidential. Members will be asked to vote for one of the two options on the ballot.

Sample ballot:

  • I vote to continue the discussion on leaving the United Methodist Church by asking the District Superintendent to schedule a Church Conference.
  • I vote to stop the discussion on leaving the United Methodist Church.

Members who want to join the meeting online need to register for a Zoom meeting by contacting Nancy Evans (office@1stch.org or 972-291-1711 or 972-849-1325) to request an invitation. George Shultz will host the online Zoom meeting, and he will send an invitation by email to every full member who registers with Nancy. The invitation will come with a link to connect your computer, your tablet or your smart phone to the online meeting. Each device connected to the Zoom meeting will be able to vote, so couples should request two invitations to two different email addresses, one for each device.

The voting will be done by using the Zoom polling feature (a confidential total). The votes cast online will be added to the votes cast in person in the sanctuary to show us the outcome of the vote to have a formal Church Conference with the District Superintendent. If you are unable to participate online, we can arrange for someone to give you a ride to the church for the in-person meeting. Please contact Lay Leader, Todd Marsh if you have questions about this at Todd.W.Marsh@outlook.com

Please pray for this congregational meeting that everyone present at this meeting, in person and online, will discern God’s will for the future of our congregation.

Thank you.

Grace and peace,

Todd

Links:

North Texas Conference Bishop announcement:  Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. To Serve As Next Bishop Of NTC (ntcumc.org) 

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has written the following letter regarding results from the 2019 special session of General Conference.

Bishop Saenz writes open letter to Great Plains Conference (greatplainsumc.org)

Other Links:

Lesbian UMC bishop facing complaint for saying Jesus held ‘bigotries,’ is being made into ‘an idol’:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/lesbian-umc-bishop-complaint-jesus-held-bigotries-made-into-idol.html

Presently, our denomination, the United Methodist Church, is going through a time of transition. Our lay representatives who attended Annual Conference are sharing information about the issues and options for our church so that we as a church family can discern where God is leading us. We have had five meetings. On November 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary, full members of the church will vote whether to continue the process of deciding if our church will remain in the United Methodist Church.
If you need a ride, call the church office at 972-291-1711 or Nancy at 972-849-1325.
Pray that we may work together as a loving church family to seek God’s guidance.

The following are the slides and explanations presented at each of the informational meetings.

Slide 1:

Presentation to the

First United Methodist Church Cedar Hill

on our Walk of Faith

for the future of our church


Prayer
Reading of Relational Covenant
Explanation: Why are we on this Walk of Faith?
At the North Texas Annual Conference, we saw evidence that the UMC is
not following its own policies.
– Slides will show details about the example they gave us in writing.
– The UMC wrote “Societies and communities have become increasingly
religiously pluralistic. As Christians, we have to come to terms with the
fact that we are not the sole possessors of religious truth”, The
Connectional Table, 2019
Seminaries are graduate schools of universities and are not owned or
controlled by the UMC. When 9 of 13 advertise that they also teach non-
Christian beliefs, the UMC continues to pay them millions each year.
– When a pastor says that the bible is wrong, or a bishop says that Jesus
was human and not divine, with “bigotries and prejudices”, the
denomination can argue that they do not speak for the UMC and still
choose not to reprimand them.
We pray that we can discern and follow God’s will together.

The lay members to the 2022 North Texas Annual Conference learned
about some issues related to the United Methodist Church that we think
need to be presented to our congregation. We have shared this information
with the Leadership Council. The information has to do with the future of our
church. We are walking in faith and praying to discern God’s will about our
church remaining a part of the United Methodist Church or not.
We have a few slides to share with you to present the information we
learned, then after the slide presentation, we will try to answer questions
that you may have.

Slide 2:

STRUCTURE OF THE UMC

•United Methodist Church

•General Conference

•North Texas Conference

•Annual Conference

•First United Methodist Church Cedar Hill

The Methodist church has been a theologically conservative church,
following the teachings of the Bible, since the time John Wesley led a
renewal movement within the Church of England, a movement that
separated from the Church of England and developed into a different
church, the Methodist church.
The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 when the Evangelical
United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church joined together. The
UMC is a global denomination with 12.5 million members in 136 countries.
In terms of its organizational structure, the UMC does not have a central
headquarters or a single executive leader. Overall leadership is provided by
a General Conference, a Council of Bishops and a Judicial Council.
Every four years the UMC calls a General Conference where lay and clergy
delegates (600-1000) decide on official policy for the UMC. The GC is the
highest legislative body in the UMC.
The UMC is divided into 129 conferences, supervised by bishops There are
54 conferences in the USA and 75 in Africa, Europe and Philippines. One of
those is the North Texas Conference, of which our church is a part. All of
these conferences send delegates to the GC.
The NTC has an annual meeting, called the Annual Conference, at which
lay members and clergy conduct the business of the conference, reviewing
reports, setting goals, and approving programs and budgets, including the
ordination of clergy. Our church sent five lay members to the NTC Annual
Conference in June: Todd, David, Roberta, Brent, and George. Keva was
not well and unable to attend.
The United Methodist Church is governed by a Book of Discipline, which is
the book of law of the UMC. It contains the Constitution, doctrine and
doctrinal statements, general rules, and social principles of the church.
There is a lot of discussion about changing the Book of Discipline in a way
that would be a departure from the traditional, theologically conservative
doctrines of the church.
One article in question in the Book of Discipline is Article 2702, so we will
present Article 2702 and the biblical references behind this article. We
would like to present how the UMC and the NTC have treated this article,
and present the current position of the NTC. We will also mention briefly
some of the other issues that are being discussed in the UMC. We would
also like to present the procedures the NTC have set up so churches can
leave the UMC if they are not happy with the way this article or other issues
are being handled.
We have gathered information to inform our congregation about these
issues, beginning with the Leadership Council. We see our research and
prayers, and presentation to the LC and the congregation, as a part of our
walk of faith for the future of our church.


Slide 3:

UMC Book of Discipline, Article 2702, 

“A bishop, clergy member of an annual conference, local pastor, … or diaconal minister may be tried when charged … with one or more of the following offenses: … practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings, including but not limited to: … being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.”


The Book of Discipline, Article 2702, says that “being a self-avowed
practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate
homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies” is
“incompatible with Christian teachings.”


Slide 4:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous [wrongdoers] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor 6:9-10, ESV

This policy is based on the teaching in the Bible, for example, 1 Cor 6:9-10,
“ 9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous [wrongdoers] will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10  nor thieves,
nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the
kingdom of God.” ESV.
(Note: The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive
(homosexuals) and active (sodomites, KJV) partners in consensual
homosexual acts.)
This same teaching is found in 1 Tim. 1:10, and in Romans 1:26 (women
exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones”), and in the Old
Testament, Gen. 19:1-3 and Lev. 18:22.
The UMC leadership has ignored or tolerated disobedience to this policy,
Article 2702, so this brings into question the view of the UMC leadership
about the Bible being our authority for our Christian faith and practice.
Members of the UMC General Conference have tried to change this article
in the Book of Discipline over the years, but the General Conference has
always upheld the policy. However, certain Methodists continue to disobey
the policy and seek to change it, with the consent of the leadership. Even
our conference, the North Texas Conference, has approved policies that
contradict and disobey this article in the Book of Discipline. As a result,
some theologically conservative Methodists, who want to follow the teaching
of the Bible, are considering leaving the UMC because they disagree with
the direction the UMC is moving.


Slide5:

“In 2019, the North Texas Annual Conference (NTC) overwhelmingly approved, by a vote of 80%, a resolution stating that: “… self-avowed practicing homosexuals” (¶304.3) should not be excluded from certification, ordination, or appointment, provided that they are otherwise qualified by the rigorous standards required by The Book of Discipline and the NTC in the areas of theology and doctrine, worship and proclamation, and call, service and disciplined life.

(NTC 2022 Conference Workbook)

The North Texas Conference approved a policy in 2019 that contradicted
and disobeyed this article in the Book of Discipline. They passed a
resolution that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” (¶304.3) should not be
excluded from certification, ordination, or appointment.”


Slide 6:

“The Board of Ordained Ministry reflects the diversity of the North Texas Annual Conference. … We represent theological perspectives that are conservative, progressive, and centrist. And, in the midst of this diversity, on the issue of LGBTQ+ inclusion, the Board overwhelmingly supports the position articulated by the North Texas Conference in 2019.”

The Board of Ordained Ministry 2022

That resolution was endorsed again this year at the 2022 Annual
Conference. “The Board of Ordained Ministry … overwhelmingly supports
the position articulated by the North Texas Conference in 2019.”


Slide 7:

“ … the position of the Board of Ordained Ministry is that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” in the North Texas Annual Conference should not be prevented from interviewing with District Committees on Ordained Ministry based solely on their partnered status.”

The Board of Ordained Ministry 2022


The NTC Board of Ordained Ministry added “self-avowed practicing
homosexuals” in the North Texas Annual Conference should not be
prevented from interviewing with District Committees on Ordained Ministry.”


Slide 8:

“… to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provision of The Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow” (Paragraph 2553)

Knowing that their position on this article, that is, the practice of
homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing
homosexuals, upset many Methodists, the North Texas Conference
approved a procedure for local congregations, who objected to this, “to
disaffiliate” or leave the UMC “for reasons of conscience” and keep their
church property, if they meet certain conditions (Paragraph 2553). In
addition, they put time constraints on the process, requiring churches to
make a decision by December 1, 2022, so that the decision could be put to
a vote of the Annual Conference in 2023, and the entire process completed
by the end of 2023.
In addition to the issue of human sexuality, there are other issues that are
causing churches to consider disaffiliating from the UMC, described as
“reasons of conscience” in Paragraph 2553. There are leaders in the UMC
who are questioning traditional Christian doctrines and teaching. There are
13 seminaries that train pastors in the UMC system, and there are reports of
teachers in these seminaries, and other leaders in the UMC, who have
denied the authority of Scripture and challenged Christian doctrines, such
as the virgin birth of Christ, the divinity of Christ, the sinlessness of Christ,
the resurrection of Christ, and Christ’s teaching about the reality of hell.
Part of the apportionments paid to the UMC go to the Ministerial Education
Fund which supports these 13 UMC seminaries (pays for scholarships and
salaries for faculty and staff).
See https://juicyecumenism.com/2022/09/14/united-methodist-
seminaries/?fbclid=IwAR2pmAmPGxfzhlvJdVDPXsMt1qC23niVzr46iXbxxKrXH-hUuW1n1rEe8K8

However, NTC Bishop McKee and his staff responded to these reports,
writing recently, “We believe in the authority of scripture,” and “… the virgin
birth, the divinity of Jesus Christ or salvation through Christ alone … are
bedrock in the doctrinal standards of The United Methodist Church, more
specifically in the Articles of Religion and the Confession of Faith. These
cannot be altered without a two-thirds vote of the General Conference
followed by a three-fourths aggregate approval of all annual conferences of
The United Methodist Church worldwide.” However, the leaders and
seminary teachers who have departed from traditional Christian teachings
have not been disciplined or dismissed by the top leaders in the UMC.
As a result of these issues, since 2019, UMC annual conferences have
approved about 680 disaffiliations by this Paragraph 2553, according to
United Methodist News. Recently, the South Georgia Conference approved
62 church disaffiliation resolutions at an Aug. 20 special session. Alabama-
West Florida expects to deal with about 30 when it meets in special session
Nov. 12. The large Texas Conference, which has its special session on Dec.
3, reports that 71 of its churches have voted to disaffiliate. There are about
a dozen more annual special sessions scheduled this year for consideration
of disaffiliation resolutions.


Slide 9:

Do we want to remain in the United Methodist Church or leave the UMC?


So our congregation is now faced with a choice. As we walk in faith to seek
God’s will for the future of our church, we need to prayerfully consider
whether or not we want to remain in the UMC due to the issues about
human sexuality and traditional Christian doctrines, and the leadership of
the UMC and the authority of the Bible for our faith and practice.
Our goal as we seek God’s will is that our congregation remains united, and
that we are open, sensitive, transparent, and respectful of each other and
different points of view as we talk about this. We all have different
experiences, and different knowledge and information that affects how we
think and feel about remaining in the UMC or choosing a different future for
our church, but we want to encourage everyone to remain in our local
church no matter the outcome of this process, because our common bond
as a church family is a stronger value than having different points of view
about these issues. We pray that we remain together and focus on the
things that brought us together and have kept us together up to this point.


Slide 10:

OPTIONS FOR FUMC CEDAR HILL

1.Remain in UMC

2.Become an independent church

3.Join another Methodist denomination

4.Join Global Methodist Church

We have done research on this procedure to understand what would be
required of our church if we choose to leave the UMC. We also considered
some of the options as we seek to understand the best future for our
church. The best future could be for us to remain in the UMC, or become an
independent church, or join another Methodist denomination, or join the
newly-established Global Methodist Church.


Slide 11:

ESTIMATED COSTS

Apportionments for 2023       $35,829

Apportionments for 2024       $17,914

Pension Liability assessment       $41,342

Grants       $500

Total       $95,585

We have estimated the cost to leave the UMC to be $95,585. The financial
information was given to us by the NTC.
If the congregation chooses to leave the UMC, by paying this amount, the
NTC will release us from the trust clause so that we would own the land and
buildings for ourselves rather than for the UMC.
The trust clause is a statement in the deed that says that the property and
assets of our church are held “in trust” for the benefit of the entire
denomination. The trust clause ensures that United Methodist property will
continue to be used for the purposes of The United Methodist Church.


Slide 12:

TIMELINE

•church meetings Oct. 3 and 12 to present information

additional meetings Oct. 18, Oct. 28, and Nov. 10

•church meeting November 17 with a vote to request a church conference

•inform District Superintendent by December 1

•church conference between January 1 and March 1 with a formal vote

As mentioned earlier, the NTC put a time constraint on us for making a
decision about the future of our church, so we proposed a timeline for
talking about this with our congregation. The first meeting was Monday,
October 3, to present the information to the congregation and answer
questions. We had another informational meeting on October 12. We
proposed additional meetings to share information each week until
November 17, when we would have a vote to request an official church
conference. If we vote to have a church conference, we would inform the
NTC District Superintendent of our intentions by December 1, and schedule
our church conference sometime in January or February, when we will have
a formal vote about the future of our church.


Slide 13:

NOVEMBER 17

Church meeting with questions and answers

Prayer

Vote for a church conference or not

Written ballot or vote online by a Zoom meeting

If vote shows 2/3 majority want to ask DS for a church conference, it will be scheduled between January 1 and March 1 for a formal vote.

If fewer than 2/3, the process ends and we remain in the UMC.

We propose that the November 17 church meeting begin with your
questions, which we will try to answer. Then we propose a time of prayer
before voting on whether or not we should ask the District Superintendent
for a formal church conference to vote on disaffiliation. The vote will be by
members of this church and it will be by a written ballot. We would also like
to make it possible for members to vote online by way of a Zoom video
conference, for those who cannot be present in person for the meeting. If
2/3 of the members who vote in person and online want to have a church
conference, we will contact the DS and ask him to schedule an official
church conference. If fewer than 2/3 of the members who vote want to have
a formal church conference, the discernment process comes to an end and
we remain in the UMC.


Slide 14:

But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

John 16:13 

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.   Philippians 2:2


As the lay members from our church to the North Texas Annual Conference,
we believed that it was our responsibility to our congregation to do research
on this procedure to understand the requirements for our church in order to
be good stewards of the information we received at this year’s Annual
Conference. So, we present this basic information and rationale to you in
the context of walking in faith to discern the future for our church.
Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all
truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and
he will tell you what is yet to come.”
We pray that the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, will guide us in this walk of
faith and tell us what is to come. We also pray that we will be like-minded,
having the same love for each other that we have always had, and united in
spirit and purpose, as we seek God’s will for the future for our church.

Here are David Evans’ and George Shultz’ responses to questions raised by Oceana Wright at an informational meeting:

1. Does the committee believe I must make a choice between following the Bible, following the Discipline, or following the NTC of the UMC?

David: This is not the belief of the committee. These options were presented at the Annual Conference by the conference. We, as delegates to the conference, felt that this information needed to be presented to the church so it could be discussed. We were not required to present it, but if we had not, there would be some that would question that decision.

We have been “following the discipline”, for the most part, until 2019. That is when bishops and conferences decided that the discipline did not apply to them and the explicit rules and punishments which it contains were beneath their consideration.

Bishop McKee ordained a gay minister at the 2022 Annual Conference in direct opposition to the discipline. On October 14, 2022, Bishop McKee made the following statement, “… the North Texas Conference expects clergy and churches to uphold the Book of Discipline, including following Paragraph 2553 for disaffiliation.”

These are facts that are presented as part of the information needed to make an informed decision about where we are going as Christians.

2. Is it true that the only question will be whether to disaffiliate from the UMC? If so, why include options?

David: This slide was to show the members of the congregation what options might be available if this congregation decides to leave the United Methodist Church. It would be inappropriate to ask people to vote for something and not know what came next.

3. If 2/3 of the congregation vote for disaffiliation, will the church still have to complete the terms of a disaffiliation agreement? Will the only terms be paying $133,615? Must the church still be approved by the Annual Conference for disaffiliation? Will the church have to fulfill remaining terms after Annual Conference approval? Is it required that everything must be done by the effective date of disaffiliation specified by the Annual Conference?

David: Until the conference decides what they are doing, there is no answer for the first four questions in this question. The fifth question in this question “Must the church still be approved by the conference for disaffiliation?” The answer at this time is yes, although the disaffiliation of St. Andrews Methodist Church could change this. Question six has no answer at this time. Question seven “Is it required that everything must be done by the effective date of disaffiliation specified by the conference?” Again, the answer is yes at the present time, but this is a fluid situation.

4. If a congregation completes the process, does it become an independent congregation or can it join another network or denomination? Is the choice limited to the Global Methodist Church?

David: The congregation is not limited on its choice of how to proceed if it disaffiliates.  Many churches are choosing to remain independent until they can prayerfully decide which way to go.

5. When a local church disaffiliates, are the church members removed from the UMC?

From the UMC FAQs, Is the UMC Really …?

6. and 8. What do I do if I want to remain a part of the UMC?

From the UMC FAQs, Is the UMC Really …?

7. How would Keva continue as pastor if the congregation votes to disaffiliate?

From the UMC FAQs, Is the UMC Really …?

8. See 6. Above.

9. Clarify Paragraph 248 of the Book of Discipline regarding the calling of a church conference. Will our church vote to call a church conference? How will the request be made to the District Superintendent?

10. If we decide not to call a church conference, does the disaffiliation process end?

George: The procedure given to us by the NTC requires a 2/3 majority of professing members to vote for disaffiliation. If there is uncertainty about a 2/3 majority, the NTC encourages us not to schedule a church conference. They recommend a straw poll rather than a formal vote to discern which way the congregation is leaning. This could be done November 17 with written secret ballots, where members indicate “stay” or “leave” the UMC, with no names indicated. If the straw poll indicated that a church conference with a formal vote on disaffiliation is merited, it will be scheduled before the 2023 North Texas Annual Conference.

Here are some links and videos that may be helpful in your Walk of Faith as we seek God’s will for our church.

Ask The UMC Series: Is The United Methodist Church really…?

Rob Renfroe video series: 

Adam Hamilton video series:

Articles about St. Andrew’s church:

https://www.standrewumc.org/future

https://www.umnews.org/en/news/megachurch-takes-unusual-disaffiliation-route

Trinity on the Hill UMC disaffiliation update:

Denomination Update – Trinity on the Hill

Daily Citizen Article: https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/united-methodist-churches-leaving-denomination-after-years-of-struggle-over-biblical-truth/